African Aviation Regional issues that affect the numerous pilots who work in this area of the world.

Corpse on plane

Old 25th Jun 2012, 12:23
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Exclamation Corpse on plane



The following report was in a general news report. Possibly more dramatic than strictly factual but interesting none the less. Not being airline crew I'm curious about the legalities and regulations relating to first of all taking off with an obviously sick passenger on board, secondly about the requirements to turn back to point of origin or nearest airport in case of medical emergency, and thirdly the rules relating to flying a corpse from one country to another. Any airline boffins out there who can clarify the correct procedure to be followed in such a case???

Woman forced to spend 10 hour flight next to a CORPSE after fellow passenger died during flight
A Swedish woman was partially reimbursed by Kenya Airways after she was forced to sit through a ten-hour flight to Tanzania next to a dead passenger.
Lena Pettersson, a journalist with Radio Sweden, boarded a flight in Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport and immediately noticed that a man in his 30s who was seated directly across the aisle from her was seriously ill.
‘He was sweating and having seizures,’ she told Sveriges Radio. ‘Air hostesses were there all along, but the plane took off anyway.’
The flight attendants put out a call for any passenger on board with medical experience who might be able to help, and someone eventually began performing cardiac massage on the ailing man.
However, efforts to revive the sick passenger failed, and he passed away just hours into the overnight flight bound for Dar es Salaam.
While the crew moved people seated next to the deceased man, there was nowhere for Pettersson or her friend to relocate.
‘Of course it was unpleasant, but I am not a person who makes a fuss,’ she said.
The cabin crew appeared at a loss as to what to do next, so flight attendants wrapped the corpse in a blanket as best they could and laid him out across three seats. Pettersson said the deceased man was rather tall, so his legs were sticking out across the narrow aisle, mere inches from her.
When Pettersson returned from her trip, she lodged a complaint with Kenya Airways and demanded compensation.
After a couple of months of back-and-forth emails, she received $713 (roughly half her ticket price) and an apology.
‘I am happy with it. I think it was a reasonable substitute,’ she said.
[/COLOR]

I probably shouldnt ask this, but how does this affect an airline head count?? Does one consider it (for example) 200 pax, 10 crew and 1 corpse? Or just stick to 210 souls on board?
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Old 25th Jun 2012, 12:43
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I probably shouldnt ask this, but how does this affect an airline head count?? Does one consider it (for example) 200 pax, 10 crew and 1 corpse? Or just stick to 210 souls on board?
Eeek - you are venturing into the uncharted waters of theology here.
When does the soul leave the body, opinions seem to vary between the moment of death and some time after burial depending on which sect of whichever $diety you ask .

On a more practical note it is normal to radio ahead and have an undertaker waiting to remove the corpse after passengers have disembarked.
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Old 26th Jun 2012, 13:17
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A Swedish woman was partially reimbursed by Kenya Airways

Confirm this plane was from amsterdam to Tanzania.Because your post says lenya airways.Kenya airways does not do any ten hour flight from amsterdam to tanzania. The flight is done via Nairobi.
This must have been a KLM flight and not Kenya Airways.
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Old 26th Jun 2012, 14:50
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I think Kenya does code share with KLM
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Old 27th Jun 2012, 00:46
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International operations may be different

Passenger counts are important in the evert of crash and fire rescue the emergency responders will continue their efforts until every passenger in accounted for.

Since we do not have the training or authorization to declare a person dead then attempts to rescue, resuscitate will continue until the aide responders are completely exhausted or are relieved from their duties by the trained medical responders. The patient would likely be moved into the galley, or aisle between the lavatories (lavatories closed obviously) to facilitate efforts.

With the thousands of people alof at any given moment medical emergencies are fairly common. Not all such events end well for the person going through the trauma.
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Old 27th Jun 2012, 11:22
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KQ definitely has a code share operation with KLM. You can book KLM from Amsterdam to Dar/Nbo and you are just as likely to get a KQ flight. And vice versa if you book KQ you might be lucky and get KLM.

I'm still curious about the legalities of transporting a body without prior permission across international boundaries. The report doesn't say what nationality the deceased man was, but this is a Kenyan aircraft from Dutch territory to Tanzanian territory. What does one put on the death certificate as to where the man died? Kenya/Holland/Tanzania/over Europe somewhere? And I really thought there were some pretty strict regulations governing medical emergencies on board an aircraft. I can't quite understand how or why the crew made the decision to continue the departure/flight with an obviously ill person on board.

I can however well imagine the consternation of the crew and passengers having to deal with a corpse!! What a flight!
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Old 27th Jun 2012, 12:51
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I, have unfortunately had quite a few incidents of this nature. We do not have enough details to know why they did not turn back or divert which I have also done in the past. Unless you like paperwork the best option is not to declare the person dead on board. Just get met by an ambulance and declared dead on arrival at hospital.

Off-loading a dead body on diversion is a nightmare.

As far as POB is concerned unless the deceased is in a coffin in the hold, as Northbeach implies, a body counts. If the fire crew are looking to clear a crashed aircraft they need a body count.
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Old 27th Jun 2012, 20:49
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Complex situations

As mentioned already in other posts, declare dead on handover to ground personnel, not onboard, as local authorities may refuse to accept the body because of the confusing nature of the place of death. I know for a fact that if there is a birth onboard, the baby may be registered in the country that the aircraft belongs to, as it is considered (when the doors are closed) as the soil or land of the country in which it is registered. But when it comes to death, the logistics and state legalities of handling a body are complex - you almost have more rights when you are dead, as compared to when you are alive.

As for making a decision to divert, turn around, or continue with regards to medical emergencies: it is completely situational and would be in the best interests of the patient and at the call of the commander with due consideration (obviously) to safety of the flight first. Using onboard SATCOM communications with airline appointed doctors is the normal course of action, as well as use of onboard medical resources (medically trained passengers). It is a very difficult decision to make as the potential for big consequences exists in any decision taken. If no decision is taken, then time makes the decision for you.
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Old 27th Jun 2012, 21:21
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The main point with all of this is that someone is only dead when a Doctor says so. No matter what the obvious signs are intil a doctor certifies life exstinct you are alive legally.

The best example of this is when someone died alone and is not found for some days, weeks, months. The date of death will be the date they are found.

For any airline it is far better to continue to destination where they can be assured that the correct services are available rather than divert and leave someones loved one in the hands of the unknown with the difficulties of then getting the deceaed repatriated to their loved ones at home.
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Old 28th Jun 2012, 07:45
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What is she making such a fuss about? They're often to be found RHS in the cockpit. The human body naturally flops to the right when comatose.
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Old 28th Jun 2012, 08:01
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I wouldn't depart if I knew some one was having seizures in the back for a 10 min sector never mind 10 hours unless it was a medi flight and the drug dealer says go.

naughty cavortingcheetah

Last edited by mad_jock; 28th Jun 2012 at 08:02.
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Old 28th Jun 2012, 10:59
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Duty of care???

Quote:- "Lena Pettersson, a journalist with Radio Sweden, boarded a flight in Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport and immediately noticed that a man in his 30s who was seated directly across the aisle from her was seriously ill.
‘He was sweating and having seizures...... but the plane took off anyway.’


However, efforts to revive the sick passenger failed, and he passed away just hours into the overnight flight bound for Dar es Salaam."

Where was the duty of care for which Kenya Airways is responsible?

The unfortunate passenger was denied proper medical attention whist the aircraft was still on the ground at Amsterdam! Did the crew think (rhetorical question) that the passenger was, if he survived, going to receive better medical attention in Kenya or Tanzania?

This demonstrates nothing more than gross neglect.

It also demonstrates the pitfalls of codesharing with third world airlines. You're never sure what you're going to get - perhaps you are!

I have within the past 6 months or so flown on Kenya Airways and had a very pleasant flight, EBB - NBO - LHR. But I am very pleased that I was not ill.

Even if the passenger had fallen in during the flight, Kenya Airways still has some resonsibility. If, however, the passenger then passed away before adequate medical attention could be provided, then the comments relating to passengers dying onboard during a flight are valid.

It would seem that nothing was done for the unfortunate soul, even while still on the ground at AMS.

Criminal!






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Old 28th Jun 2012, 11:22
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Or just stick to 210 souls on board?
Guess it depends on your religious/spiritual bent. His soul could be said to have most definitely departed...
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Old 28th Jun 2012, 11:39
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"unless it was a medi flight and the drug dealer says go"

thanks Mad Jock, made me chuckle !

Last edited by VSB via OL; 30th Jun 2012 at 14:06.
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Old 28th Jun 2012, 15:44
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Souls?
I think you have to include him in the count.
Otherwise, if there is an accident and people are looking for bodies, they will stop before finding the last one.
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Old 29th Jun 2012, 09:07
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FERetd: Where was the duty of care for which Kenya Airways is responsible?

It also demonstrates the pitfalls of codesharing with third world airlines. You're never sure what you're going to get - perhaps you are!
Is KLM a third world airline

You do realize this flight was operated by a KLM 777. Kenya airways has no direct flights AMS to JRO.

As far as head count goes, it remains the same. Person is not officially dead until confirmed by medical staff as said in earlier posts.

Would be interesting to see what the procedure is for CPR in flight as Ailes are very narrow and not easy. Some companies would move the person to an area with larger space by the door in order to offer better access and to be away from other paxs.

Last edited by Soap Box Cowboy; 29th Jun 2012 at 09:08. Reason: Quotes
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Old 30th Jun 2012, 22:15
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Duty of Care??

Soap Box Cowboy Quote:- " Is KLM a third world airline "

Rapidly approaching one if that is how they deal with a "seriously ill" passenger. Although that might be a little harsh on those airlines that would have acted differently.

The point is that the passenger may not be dead if he had received prompt and adequate medical attention, which he was denied even though he demonstrated symptons whilst still on the ground at AMS.

Various comments on this forum have only made reference to Kenya Airways, including the original post. I defer to your information that this was actually a flight operated by KLM, however this does not change, in any way, the fact that with code sharing you're never sure what you're going to get.
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Old 2nd Jul 2012, 08:57
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Just to play 'question everything' like I was taught by the 60's....

This was a journalist who made the complaint...
She got a refund as a result of the complaint...
She 'claims' that the guy was ill before the plane took off (has this been confirmed by anyone else?)
She says the flight attendants were all there, but doesn't say whether or not they actually noticed the passenger - why didn't she say something?

How do we really know that the passenger was ill before the plane took off?
we only have her word to go on... and she got a refund... hmmmmm
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Old 4th Aug 2012, 12:46
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Well said, darkroom. I wonder if any of the crew were aware of the seriousness of the medical situation.
I fly 777's with more than 400 pax on board. If we were to call in the medics anytime someone on board wasn't feeling very well, we would probably never depart. There's always someone who has anxiety, headache, nausea or what have you.
Trick is to pick out the seriously ill ones. This is also something the gate agents should do BTW. And since hardly any cabin crew have had any sort of medical training, this can be very difficult.
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